Shaun Murphy became only the 10th player to complete snooker’s ‘Triple Crown’ when dominating the world number one Neil Robertson in the final of the Masters last weekend.
But with the 2005 world champ now 12/1 (rather than the 16/1 he was prior to events at Alexandra Palace), some could say his price had gone for the most prestigious title.
There is no knocking the way in which ‘The Magician’ cued on Sunday night, putting his Australian opponent to the sword from early on, racking up a 5-0 lead, before going on to triumph 10-2.
And after nearly giving snooker up last year, Murphy will be keen to add to his title in the sport’s showpiece 10 years on from his first.
However, the record of Masters champions doesn’t correspond well going into that year’s worlds.
Mark Williams was the last to do the double in 2003, while Stephen Hendry is the only other player to do it in 25 years.
Furthermore, looking back at the last 10 world champions, just two had reached further than the quarter finals in the Masters that year.
So with no correlation between the two, is Murphy still value to triumph in Sheffield?
Well, he has certainly had his moments in 2014-15, winning the Bulgarian Cup, the Ruhr Open (recording a 147 break in the process) and reaching the final of the General Cup.
However, his form at the more competitive tournaments needs a step up.
He was eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open, Shanghai Masters and International Championships, faring slightly better in the Wuxi Classic, where he reached the fourth round.
Bearing in mind his price, he does look a better bet than many shorter than him in the market, even if he does have to improve his consistency.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, as impressive as he is when he gets going, is no sort of price at 7/4, while former world number one Ding Junhui (10/1) has gone out in the qualifying round in two of five ranking tournaments this season.
Defending champ Mark Selby (8/1) isn’t faring much better either.
He has failed to get further than the second round in the Wuxi Classic, International Championship, UK Championship, and went out in the opening round of the Masters to the subsequent winner.
The man on the end of Murphy’s domineering final display, Neil Robertson (6/1) has shown some sparks this season, winning the Wuxi Classic and finishing runner-up in the Australian Open.
But with first round exits in two of the last four World Championships, the Thunder from Down Under does come with risks.
So with the other candidates offering little in the way of value, Murphy could well be the best bet at current odds to take the trophy in May.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing
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